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Examining the "Enthusiasm Gap" for AI Customer Support Between Executives and Customers

By Tracey E. Schelmetic December 13, 2023

Are contact center executives enthusiastic about what artificial intelligence (AI) can do for the enterprise today? In general, we'd say yes. Are customers experiencing the same enthusiasm about facing AI-driven bots solving their problems and answering their questions? On that, the jury may still be out.

Customer engagement solutions provider Waterfield Tech has released new research findings that highlight a disconnect between customer experience (CX) leaders and consumers regarding satisfaction with current contact center technologies. According to the survey of more than 200 CX leaders, nearly 80% report being very satisfied with their contact center and supporting AI solutions. However, data from a May 2023 survey conducted by Waterfield Tech of consumers shows only 36% are fully satisfied with the different contact center technologies that support their customer service interactions.

That’s a big enthusiasm gap.

Waterfield Tech's survey of customer experience leaders found this disconnect exists even within the businesses themselves when it comes to sentiment around AI and cloud-based systems in the contact center. The closer employees are to actual customers, the more their enthusiasm vanishes: while senior executives were very satisfied with their contact center technologies overall, the closer the respondents were to managing the contact centers, the more likely they were to identify shortcomings in their solutions. For example, 77% of C-suite executives report overall high levels of satisfaction with their AI contact center technologies while only 65% of those in the trenches (e.g., vice president and director levels) expressed satisfaction with their solutions.

"With the advances made in the past year, simple and powerful APIs are now readily available and the adoption and deployment of LLM-powered AI in and around the contact center is increasing fast," said Michael Fisher, Chief Product Officer at Waterfield Tech. "But organizations need to understand the ease of initial adoption can mask the difficulty of getting to the finish line. There is a last mile problem in getting LLM-powered AI production ready. Successful implementations require a customer-centric and data-driven approach that combines the right technology, design, and AI training to help organizations actually meet their business goals, their compliance and security needs— and their customers' expectations."

Edited by Alex Passett
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